Benefits of Using Flash Cards:
- Just preparing a set of flash cards begins the studying process. When you write you use a different part of your brain than when you read. Exposing different parts of your brain to the information makes you more likely to remember it later.
- You can add to your deck over time. Make flash cards after each lesson, and it's a great review of the lesson, but it also makes studying for the test less overwhelming because you don't need to spend any time make flash cards.
- They are versatile. A lot of research shows that flash cards are especially helpful for learning new vocabulary, but they can be used to learn information form pretty much any subject.
- They help you break down large amounts of information into more manageable chunks, which makes learning easier.
- They can be shuffled. Studying material in a random order can help you learn information more effectively. If we always come across the information in the same context (e.g. the same spot in our notes surrounded by the exact same information) that context becomes the cue we need to retrieve the information from our memory. If you shuffle your flash cards, you constantly mix up the context, which means you are more likely to remember it in a new context (e.g. on a test question).
- They can be sorted. Put related information together to study it and see connections between different topics or vocabulary words (e.g. put all the flash cards with information about Renaissance art in one pile and you will start to see the connections between important developments in Renaissance art). You can also sort them into piles based on whether you got the question right or wrong. Go through the cards in the "wrong" pile again until you can put all the cards in the "right" pile.
- They are portable, and they weigh a lot less than textbooks and binders. Stash a deck in your back pack, and you can study anywhere, any time. Got 10 minutes of free time at the end of class? Need to kill 5 minutes while you wait for your bus? Pull out your flash cards and study.
- You can use them to study with friends. Take turns asking each other questions from the flash cards. Discuss any answers you get wrong, and you will both learn in the process.
- They are inexpensive to make. 3 x 5 or 4 x 5 recipe cards can be purchased at any dollar store. If you really want to save money, cut them in half.
A Video Tutorial on How to Make Flash Cards:
This video shows you a few different methods for making flash cards, which will give you some inspiration for making your own. You can always adapt what you see in the video to how you learn best or to what works best for the subject you are studying.